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Chemical Hazards Legislation - International
    The principal legislation currently in the European Union (EU) (formerly the European Community (EC) and before that the European Economic Community (EEC)) relating to the Classification, Packaging and Labelling of dangerous substances and preparations was, until January 2009,  that of the 67/548/EEC Dangerous Substances Directive (DSD), which, as a Directive,  Member States had to implement by passing national legislation. The DSD also contained new substance notification requirements but from June 2008 these were revoked and replaced by the directly acting REACH Regulation. The DSD also contained a requirement to supply Safety Data Sheets for substances, but REACH took over this requirement from June 2008.  The detailed SDS requirements were subject to the 91/155/EC Safety Data Sheet Directive (SDSD), but this was also revoked and replaced, with effect from 1 June 2007, by REACH. To prevent preparations having to be classified by testing in the same way as substances, the 1999/45/EC Dangerous Preparations Directive (DPD) was introduced to provide an alternative conventional (mathematical) system for classification. The DPD also contains special packaging and special labelling requirements for certain preparations. The DPD also used to contain a requirement for the supply of SDSs, but this was revoked, with effect from 1 June 2007, by REACH.

  • CLP
    However in January a new directly acting European Regulation called in short “CLP” came into force introducing a new scheme of  Classification, Labelling and Packaging that is initially an option to compliance with the requirements of national legislation implementing the DSD and DPD, but which in time (from 1.12.2010 for substances and 1.6.2015 for mixtures –the new name for preparations) will become the mandatory requirement, with the DSD and DPD finally being revoked on 1.6.2015.

    A major element of the DSD in the past was the determination by European Member States experts of a harmonised classification for SOME substances, which was then published in the Annex I to the DSD. Publication of a newly adopted European harmonised classification, and subsequent revisions to the entry, in Annex I were made through Adaptation to Technical Progress (ATP) Directives adopted by Commission. However on 20th January 2009 the Annex I to the DSD was revoked by the CLP Regulation and replaced, as a source of EU harmonised classifications for the purposes of classifications under the DSD, by Table 3.2 of Annex VI of CLP.
  • Import & Export

    Regulation (EC) No. 689/2008 concerns the export and import of dangerous chemicals. This, inter alia, requires that dangerous goods exported outside the EC are required to be classified and labelled to DSD/DPD standards and a Safety Data Sheet supplied (to the requirements of the (EC) 1907/2006 REACH Regulation). Also that the label and Safety Data Sheet must be in a language of the country of destination, if practicable. The regulations also implement, and go beyond the requirements of, the PIC (Prior Informed Consent) provisions. Rotterdam Conference 1999.

    Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 will however revoke and replace the Regulation (EC) 689/2008 with effect from 1st March 2014. The new Regulation will continuing to aim at protecting human health, of both consumers and workers, and the environment against potentially harmful impacts from certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides. However the new is more stringently protective of human health and the environment. It is also consistent with other relevant EU legislations, such as Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 REACH and Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP), which harmonised with the UN Globally Harmonised System on the classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS), see below. It also requires an adequate shelf-life for exported chemicals, and appropriate storage conditions so that they may be used effectively and safely.

The modal requirements are updated every two years with new editions coming effective 1st January of odd-numbered years.

  • UN Transport of Dangerous Goods (the Orange Book) (Note: these are global recommendations)
  • Road/Rail: ADR/RID
  • Sea: IMDG Code
  • Air: ICAO Technical Instructions (IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations which are carrier terms and conditions but contain all ICAO legal provisions, as well as some IATA additional requirements. IATA publishes annually with new editions applying from 1 January).
Globally Harmonised System (GHS)

The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) has been the subject of more than a decade of work; its aim is to provide a framework to bring together the various national and regional hazard communication systems which control the supply of hazardous chemicals in much the same way that the ‘Orange Book’ offers a global framework for the transport of dangerous goods. The purpose of GHS is to provide a single, globally harmonized system to address classification of chemicals, labels, and safety data sheets. The first edition of GHS was published in July 2003 as the ‘Purple Book’, it is revised every December of even numbered years (and usually published in the following summer). Further details about the publication status, its ‘adoption’ throughout the world, and often access to electronic versions (when these are eventually made available), can be found on the UNECE website:


The EU Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP) will, over a transitional period ending finally on 1.6.2015, harmonise the EU supply provisions with the GHS.  See the section of this website for further information. Further information is also available for CHCS members in our Member’s Only section.

Transport implementation is via the UN Recommendations and Model Regulations (Orange Book) and by subsequent adoption in the various international modal provisions (ADR, RID, ADN, IMDG Code, ICAO TIs / IATA DGRs).

Updated: 11 October 2012. Supersedes 15 December 2010

Transport Of Dangerous Goods Training

See the CHCS advice on Transport of Dangerous Goods Training.

Safety Data Sheet Training

CHCS run a very popular, modular course on the writing of Safety Data Sheets and related issues such as classification, labelling and other documentation.

For dates of these courses, click HERE.